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Amman

Asia > Jordan > Amman

See: Why hire a car in Amman ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring. Yes, this site is being updated, but the graphics will come later)

Your key questions for any destination:

Do I need a car in Amman?

Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest. That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than simple yes or no answers!

  • The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
  • How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
  • Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
  • Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?

Is it worth hiring a car in Amman?

This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Amman car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.

How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Amman with other destinations locally and around the world.

This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.

 

Should I rent a car in Amman? 

This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Amman, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.

The Jordanian capital is an incredibly compact city, where the historic core is richly connected and inherently walkable.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Amman car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Amman is in car rental price band: 7/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Amman? 

No. Car rental is expensive by global standards.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Amman between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 3/10

Non car score:4/10

Balance: 4

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

There are few reasons to want to drive anywhere immediately outside of the city, because all of the major attractions in Amman are very central. The compact nature of the old citadel makes driving impractical, with many of the narrow streets only being open to one way traffic.

It is much easier to walk, or at least trust the navigation to local taxi drivers.

Visitors arriving at Queen Alia International airport outside Amman can also make relatively easy road transfers into the city centre, whether by taxi, scheduled bus or private transfers. The airport was purpose built in the early 1980s to cater for growing air traffic. You will find it some 20 miles (30km) from the city centre. A new terminal, designed by Foster & Partners, opened in 2012.

You may well notice the railway to Aqaba crossing the airport access road, but for the time being, this line is not open to passenger traffic. Rail transport in Jordan is very limited, with the one passenger service currently still open being the line running through Zarqa and Mafraq. This line has historically continued through to Damascus in Syria – please check locally for any operational updates.

Beyond Amman

  • Petra – The ancient city of Petra, which is by far and away the most famous tourist attraction in Jordan is nowhere near Amman, but some 3 to 4 hours’ drive south of the city. Petra is much nearer to the resort of Aqaba. There is still little reason to want to drive down to Petra in a hire car. It is much easier to either fly directly to Aqaba in the first place, or to transfer to Petra by bus or coach.
  • Wadi Rum – used as a backdrop for numerous films, from Lawrence of Arabia to various Sci-Fi epics as a stand-in for Mars, Wadi Rum is a further 110 km south of Petra. Allow around 2 hours’ drive from Petra, or 5 hours from Amman.
  • Aqaba – the red sea resort city of Aqaba sits due west of Wadi Rum, or around 125 km / 80 miles by car south of Petra.

When combined with the Dana Biosphere Reserve, which sits to the north of Petra on the route down from Amman, you may start to see a potential road trip unfolding. Whether you see this working its way into a one week car hire excursion is another matter though. You may well still find that this route can be done using organised tours. Scheduled bus services are an easy enough option between Amman and the three main places above – Dana reserve less so.

Why? Visiting Amman using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Amman ?


  • Head south on your own terms – a natural road trip would include Dana Biosphere, Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba.
  • Limited rail services – trains of no real use for tourists.

Why? Visiting Amman using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Amman ?


  • Easier to rely on packaged trips.
  • Destinations like Petra involve spending large amounts of time in enclosed car free areas, a car only useful to get there in first place.
  • In many situations, it will be easier to get where you want to go by bus, as this avoids the hassles of renting and driving.
  • Jordan has a very poor road safety record.

Ratings: How does Amman compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Amman? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Amman, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Amman? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Amman (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Amman? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Amman airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Amman car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 4

2019 - 4

2021 - 4

Average score - 4

Notes:

 

Given the inhospitable nature of the Jordanian landscape, and given that many of the tourist experiences outside Amman itself will be well packaged regardless, we see little reason to look at getting a car here. It’s worth looking at if you really crave for the independence a car will give you, despite all the hassles. Relatively speaking, Jordan is a moderately safe place, but that’s easy if you take that comparison against Jordan’s immediate neighbours!

Car hire and car driving is still a risk wherever you go. You may well be able to find a decent Amman car hire deal directly from Queen Alia Airport, and you may indeed want to head straight on a road trip of the south, missing out Amman altogether and going straight for Petra and the barren delights of Wadi Rum. If you do this, I think that would be a shame, as you’d be missing out on the many points of interest in Jordan’s ancient historic capital.

Highways in Jordan are generally modern and well laid out, especially between the cities. Sadly, there is no working rail service that will be of any use to visitors to Amman.

Do you need a car in Amman?  Ultimately, our Amman car hire verdict remains a “no”, but it’s certainly one of our softer recommendations. If you are already coming here with getting a hire car in mind, then a bus of some kind is going to be your only other real option, unless you want to hire a private car with driver. Once you are thinking about doing that, then a standard rental car starts to look like a much better option.

Verdict – no (soft).

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